Introducing our Crew . . .

2017 Captains and Crew 


Captain Wayne - Stubbs Island Whale Watching

Captain Wayne Garton

“This will be my 21st season with Stubbs Island Whale Watching. I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing wildlife activity within a 40 mile radius of Telegraph Cove. This is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the coast of British Columbia.”  

Wayne is the senior Captain at Stubbs and brings a wealth of boating experience to the bridge with 25 years of service in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police much of that working the RCMP boats. Since coming to Telegraph Cove he has logged thousand of trips and is adamant that no two trips are the same which is one of the reasons he is always pumped about getting out on the water every day.

What ‘Lisa from London’ had to say about her trip with Captain Wayne. “The tour started with a very enthusiastic welcome from Wayne, who told us he has been working on boats for 40 years, and completely and utterly loves his job. Wayne and his assistant Alison clearly love whales and we were thrilled to see whales within 8 minutes of going out to the sea.” (source TripAdvisor review 2015/11/13)

What ‘Junelle from Washington State’ had to say about Captain Wayne. “In 2002 my elderly mom wanted to go whale watching after seeing a news article about the release of a rehabilitated orca, Springer. We found Telegraph Cove and Stubbs Island Whale Watching and for the next 7 years, until mom passed away at 100 yrs., we went back to repeat the trip. She sat up in the captain's cabin and enjoyed the banter with Captain Wayne.” (source TripAdvisor review 2015/10/10)
What ‘Peppercorn from UK’ had to say about Captain Wayne. “Awesome! It was a brilliant trip as we saw lots of orcas and humpbacks as well as bald eagles, Steller sea lions and sea otters. You could see them all very clearly and the knowledge that Captain Wayne shared with us was very interesting. Overall an amazing trip!” (source TripAdvisor review 2013/08/24)

Jackie Hildering - Head Naturalist

Naturalist and Educator Jackie Hildering 
Jackie is an award-winning marine educator who has been part of our team since 1999. Recognition of her work includes being the 2010 winner of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Murray A. Newman Award for Excellence in Aquatic Conservation. She taught biology and administered international schools in the Netherlands for 14 years and, since returning to BC, has also been the local Department of Fisheries and Oceans Education Coordinator, Communications Director for the SOS Marine Conservation Foundation and Community Liaison for the 'Namgis First Nations KUTTERA Closed Containment Salmon Farm. Witnessing the return of Humpback Whales to our area led Jackie to becoming a whale researcher and co-founding the Marine Education and Research Society. She is president of the local scuba diving club, educates as The Marine Detective  and is a board member of the Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE). On-camera experience includes Animal Planet's “Wild Obsessions – The Great Whales”; the BBC production “New threat to Canada’s Pacific humpback whales?”; an episode of Knowledge Network’s “Head’s Up” children’s educational series; and the German documentary “Vancouver Island - Wild Beauty in the Pacific” (Vancouver Island - Wilde Schönheit im Pazifik by Christel Fomm of GRUPPE 5).

What 'Francis from Aukland, New Zealand' had to say about Jackie. "I got the last place available on the boat and I thought I was lucky. But boy, you don't know how lucky!! I spent the whole trip watching incredible animals: orcas, sea lions, humpback whales! Of course, you never know what is out there, but this was a great trip. The captain was very kind and enthusiastic and Jackie, the "on board" marine biology expert, the perfect teacher for such a trip. If you are in Telegraph Cove, don't miss this opportunity!! And remember: a hand for you and a hand for the boat ;-) (be careful when you go down those steps...)(if you get on board the Lukwa you will understand)" (Source Trip Advisor review 2015/08/23)


Naturalist Johanna Ferrie
"I am thrilled to be returning to Telegraph Cove for my third summer with Stubbs! I am originally a mountain girl from southeast BC but have always been drawn to the ocean. Despite this, I am doing my degree in Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Alberta, where I can race as a skier. I spent one semester abroad in Cuba studying coastal ecosystems, and one summer at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre to stay near the ocean. I can't wait to see what this summer in Telegraph Cove and Johnstone Strait has in store!" 

What D. K. from Regina, Saskatchewan had to say about Johanna. “An amazing evening tour that exceeded our expectations. We were lucky enough to see humpback whales, seals, dolphins and 3 different pods of Orcas. Stubbs is very professional, Capt. Wayne was our skipper and knew all the right spots to find the whales. Johanna our biologist answered all our questions and was very knowledgable. The vessel was in great shape, plenty of room for all to move around and get the best view of the whales. Would highly recommend Stubbs to everyone.” (Source TripAdvisor 2015/08/01)

What ‘WolfCruise from Tofino, B.C. said about Johanna. “My goodness .. where to begin ... Stubbs Island Whale watch is instrumental in their approach to whale watching. To being gathered and de-briefed on the dock prior to boarding. Captain Wayne giving us the low down on the boat and her procedures, Johanna telling us what animals that could be encountered out there, to Wayne then calling the muster list out, so that we all boarded safely and slowly, and he knew his count. The personal touch, asking us where we were all from. Once out on the Lukwa, there was ample places to sit or stand. The talking was kept to a minimum which was lovely. We could all take it all in, and not be bombarded with voices over the loud hailer. We had 2 clans of orcas instantly, Wayne shut down the vessel, the hydrophone was deployed, and we watched and listened to these 2 families hunt salmon as they passed by the vessel. Very un-invasive, peaceful and the vocalizations were hauntingly beautiful. Johanna  gave a talk about the birds and mammals that we had encountered during the last 15 minutes of the trip, as we sat engines off in Johnstone Strait, for those that were interested in hearing.

We even found a Horned Puffin - a very exciting spot. We got a couple of photos, and shall post them on here and to Stubbs’ office once I get them off the camera and cropped. Thank you again to Wayne, Johanna, Heike and all the crew at Stubbs - from check-in to check out - you guys are the best! (Source TripAdvisor 2015/08/29) 

New to our team of Naturalists this season

We are excited to welcome our three new naturalists to our team this season. They are our two local Islander's Ashley Nielsen from Campbell River and  Alexandra Mcdonald from Nanaimo and joining us from the mainland is Chloe Warren from Vancouver. Their enthusiasm, excitement and passion is only matched by the speed in which they have become valuable members of the team.

Your safety

Your safety is paramount to us, our onboard naturalists and deckhands are trained to Transport Canada standards and certified to handle all marine emergencies and first aid requirements of our passengers.

Ethical wildlife viewing, education and conservation

Stubbs Island Whale Watching's success and reputation as a leader in the industry has been achieved through our strong dedication to research and education. The company's values and foundation are based on ethical wildlife viewing, education and conservation. As such it is the company’s ideal that our Naturalists have a background in biology. This is motivated by the desire to be able to provide our guests with so much more than "a look at the whales". It is our belief that wildlife viewing can have great educational merit and that education (at the desired level) greatly enhances the value of the experience. By hiring biologists, it is also hoped that the experience gained from being a naturalist will contribute to further marine research and education.